Rumours started a few days ago, and there is now Government confirmation … and so a cautionary post seemed in order.
Spain has confirmed that it is going to impose a “moderate” tax, “not much higher than 0%”, on bank deposits to create a fund to compensate autonomous communities for regional tax losses resulting from the imposition of a national 0% rate. An article in El Pais says that the tax has no connection with the situation in Cyprus and does not affect savers but, rather, taxes credit institutions for deposits held. The amount taxed, apparently, will be exactly that which has been lost by the introduction of the 0% rate.
As anyone who knows me also knows, I am no economist, so this is pretty nigh gibberish to me. I have no idea what “not much higher than 0%” means (0.2% is being rumoured), nor who these “credit institutions” are that are supposed to pay, but it is clear that, for the moment, you and I are not going to have to suffer a “haircut” tax in the Cypriot fashion on our bank deposits.
It is easy to see how fear is going to spread, however, particularly given that the confirmation has come from Spain’s ministro de Hacienda y Administraciones Públicas, Cristóbal Montoro, himself. Seemingly, the new measure won’t apply in Asturias because they already have a regional tax on deposits in place, but Extremadura, Andalucia and the Canaries appear to be singled out because “they had the regional tax in force to be nullified when the national tax was introduced”. I suspect that this will itself add to the fear and rumours in the Canaries.
So to be categoric, for the moment Spain has not announced any plans to tax the deposits in bank accounts on an individual basis. As El Pais itself concludes, however, the measure leaves the door open eventually to do so.